The Philadelphia 76ers ended up dropping a second straight game on Friday as they fell to the New Orleans Pelicans 127-116 on the road. Joel Embiid had 37 points, eight rebounds, and five assists, but it wasn’t enough as CJ McCollum exploded for a franchise-record 11 triples for New Orleans.
While the loss is the obvious focus, Philadelphia did welcome Tyrese Maxey back to the lineup. The third-year guard played 18 minutes and had nine points on 4-for-10 shooting. He shot 3-for-6 after halftime as he began to get his legs underneath him a bit.
“It was the first time playing in a high-intensity basketball game,” Maxey told reporters after the game. “That is a very good team over there and we are pretty good as well. I did feel better as the game went along. It was fun being back out there with my teammates.”
Maxey shot 1-for-4 in the first half as one could tell he was pretty rusty after an 18-game absence. The Sixers did not want to push him too much as he is coming off a left foot fracture so coach Doc Rivers wanted to be careful with him in his first game since Nov. 18.
“I thought he got better as the game went on,” Rivers told reporters of Maxey. “We used him 18 minutes. You can see he was rusty when he started and I thought that kind of affected the whole unit in some ways, but the only way you can bring him back, you just gotta throw him in there like we did.”
As the Sixers prepare for the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday to finish the road trip on the second night of a back-to-back, it remains to be seen if Maxey will play in that one. It would make sense if he doesn’t due to Philadelphia not wanting to push him too much, but it remains to be seen.
“I don’t know yet,” Rivers said after the loss in New Orleans. “I really don’t know yet.”
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